Since 1996, the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, located in Copenhagen, has established itself not only on the Danish cultural scene, but also at an international level. At the time, the very young architect Søren Robert Lund signed the project for this building, combining the components of deconstructivist architecture with the clean forms of functionalism of ancient memory.
The works owned by the museum are not very numerous: there are about four hundred works, mainly by Danish and Nordic artists. However, there is no shortage of testimonies of international caliber, such as the room dedicated to Damien Hirst and Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads” (2010).
In addition, the sculpture park, where you can admire monumental and very significant works, should certainly be noted as noteworthy and of great interest. We remember, among others, the naked man in bronze with the lost gaze on the horizon by Antony Gormley, the ironic equestrian statue by Elmgreen & Dragset, the two marble blocks by Eva Steen Christensen, the cage (with mirror) by Jeppe Hein, the red house (but without walls and floating) by Karolin Schwab, the phrase engraved in red block letters on an external wall of the museum by Lawrence Weiner, the dome built on a hexagonal cell by Olafur Eliasson.
Now, although the museum is closed due to the ongoing epidemic, until August 8, 2021, the “Gold and Magic” exhibition remains standing, in which the gold treasures of the Danish National Museum (SMK) interact with the works by some of the greatest contemporary artists. Ultimately a journey through time and in the most disparate expressive languages: a way to tell the history of humanity with a very particular cut, underlining the charm and power of this incorruptible metal and that the Byzantine mosaics raised to a luminous triumph and a backdrop vibrant and intangible, and where the divine could manifest. Artists from various backgrounds meet on this borderline where the sunny sides of beauty seem to converge with those of magic. These are the authors called to be part of the project: El Anatsui, James Lee Byars, Chris Burden, Eva Steen Christensen, Zhang Ding, Sylvie Fleury, Subodh Gupta, Louis Henderson, Damien Hirst, Alicja Kwade, Runo Lagomarsino, Mercedes Lara, Klara Lilja, Grayson Perry, Thomas J. Price, Ugo Rondinone, Lorna Simpson, Alexander Tovborg, Bill Viola and Ai Weiwei.
In addition, the program, if confirmed, announces, from 4 September 2021 to 9 January 2022, the exhibition “Flowers in art”, a vibrant story about the charm, beauty and fragility of flowers; with authors ranging from Alhed Larsen to Marc Quinn, from Nathalie Djurberg to Hans Berg.
From the few examples that we have made here it is clear that even a small museum can open its eyes to the world, putting the world in dialogue with its own genius loci.
Grayson Perry, Prehistoric Gold Pubic Alan Dogu , 2007 © Grayson Perry. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro
Exterior view of ARKEN Museum for Modern Art (on the left you can see “Powerless Structures”, the ironic equestrian statue of Elmgreen & Dragset which was exhibited for the first time in 2012 in London, in Trafalgar Square). Photo Emma Thunbo, courtesy ARKEN Museum for Modern Art
Ugo Rondinone, the sun at 12, 2019, Studio Rondinone. Photo courtesy Studio Rondinone, og kamel mennour, Paris – London
Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals – Zodiac Heads (detail), 2010. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, long-term loan from the Frahm Collection. Foto Torben Petersen
Olafur Eliasson, 8900054, 1996, photo Miriam Nielsen, courtesy ARKEN Museum of Modern Art